Tarentum, Greek Didrachm, Horseman & Taras Riding Dolphin

Date: c. 380 - 340 BCE
Magna Graecia, Italy

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Item Description:

Includes glass top display box.

Silver didrachms struck in the ancient Greek city of Tarentum present a captivating fusion of myth and artistry. The obverse of the coin displays a naked horseman, gallantly poised, often interpreted as either a youthful athlete or a warrior. The reverse is even more intriguing however, portraying the city's mythical founder, Taras, gracefully mounted on a dolphin.

This depiction draws directly from Tarentum's cherished founding legend. Taras, said to be the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea, was once shipwrecked off the coast. In his most desperate moment, a dolphin sent by his divine father saved him and carried him to the shores, landing in the area that would later become Tarentum. Hence, the dolphin came to symbolize both the city's maritime prowess and its mythical origin, and is a common symbol seen on artifacts from the area.

Magna Graecia, which translates to "Greater Greece," refers to the coastal areas of Southern Italy that were colonized by ancient Greek settlers beginning in the 8th century BCE. These Greek colonies flourished in regions such as Calabria, Apulia, and Sicily, creating a rich tapestry of Hellenic culture, art, and philosophy outside of the Greek mainland. Over time, Magna Graecia became a hub of intellectual and cultural exchange, profoundly influencing the indigenous Italic populations.

Many types of coins from Magna Graecia are relatively rare on the private market, and are worth a premium even in lower grades.

All purchases include a Certificate of Authenticity. You will receive the exact item in this photo, along with a glass top leatherette display box.

Our original glass and leatherette display boxes showcase your relic above a custom information card, with a design unique to History Hoard.

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